The Nashville-based Beacon Center of Tennessee released a new solutions guide for Gov. Bill Lee and the state legislature on Friday that focused on making some of the deregulation done by executive order during the COVID-19 pandemic permanent.
This, according to an emailed press release Beacon put out Friday.
“While this pandemic and the resulting shutdowns and economic devastation have been awful for Tennessee and the country, there is a small silver lining in an otherwise bleak situation. Many states, including Tennessee, have removed unnecessary and burdensome regulations on a temporary basis,” Beacon CEO Justin Owen said in the press release.
“If we believe that removing these regulations during a public health emergency is the right thing to do, then it should always be the right thing to do. Repealing the red tape will allow more people to access quality healthcare for less money, help people get back to work more quickly, and save localities money while reforming the criminal justice system.”
This guide includes easing restrictions in the healthcare industry, specifically in telemedicine and certificate of need laws, which will allow more people to access healthcare at a lower cost. It also includes streamlining the licensure process to get more Tennesseans back to work and enacting pre-trial reform to ease local budgetary issues.”
Among some of Beacon’s recommendations:
• Eliminate and Reform Certificate of Need Requirements: Beacon staff suggest permanently removing limitations on healthcare services and capacity. They said Certificate of Need laws raise the price of healthcare, lead to worse health outcomes, and reduce the number of facilities and overall capacity. In order to increase hospital bed capacity, Gov. Lee waived the CON requirement for hospital beds if the increase was related to treating COVID-19 patients, Beacon said.
• Empower the Use of Telemedicine: Beacon said that Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee, the state’s largest insurance provider, has now gone on record saying it will permanently cover telemedicine visits.
• Enact Pre-trial Reform to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 and Ease Local Budgetary Pain: Beacon said that pre-trial reform for low-level, nonviolent charges would help prevent any future outbreaks by reducing jail populations without compromising public safety. Additionally, at a time when many local budgets are strained as a result of the economic shutdown, safely reducing pre-trial populations could ease pressure on both the state and local governments’ budgets, according to the report.
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